2024 Ultimate POOL VACUUM Robot Review

June 20, 2024

Battery powered robotic pool cleaners are the easiest and most convenient way to keep your pool clean, but the question is whether a $350 robot will do just as well as one that costs $1700.

Today I’ve got eight of the most popular robotic pool cleaners on the market from Polaris, Beatbot, Aiper, Wybot, and Seauto and I’m going to test their pool coverage, suction power, fine debris filtering, and ease of use to figure out which one is the best, and as always there are no sponsored reviews on this channel.

Pool Coverage

Starting with pool coverage the first vacuum we’ll test is the winner of last year’s video, the Seauto Seal SE. The Seal SE has dual scrubbing brushes and a single ultrasonic sensor to give it a rudimentary understanding of its position in the pool. Unfortunately, Seauto stopped selling this excellent model on Amazon and has raised the price from $350 to $699 on their website, but I’ve been using this Seal SE 2-3 times a week in my pool for the last year and when it was brand new the Seauto ran for 2 hours and 31 minutes and covered around 90% of the walls and 90% of the pool floor. 

And one year and roughly 150 recharges later the Seauto has had zero battery degradation and inexplicably ran for 11 minutes longer at 2 hours and 42 minutes and had roughly the same coverage with around 90% of the pool walls and 90% of the pool floor.

As I said, Seauto has unfortunately significantly raised the price of the Seal, but they replaced it with the 2024 Seauto Crab, which costs $359 and has very similar construction with the same dual scrubbing brushes and single ultrasonic positioning sensor. Also like the Seal, the Crab has three modes: full coverage, wall only, and floor only which can be toggled between using the button on the top of the Crab, but for some reason this feature is only available after connecting the Crab to the “unlock Seauto” app instead of just coming unlocked from the factory.

In full coverage mode the Crab cleaned for 2 hours and 23 minutes where it aggressively ramps up the walls for the first hour of cleaning and then switches to floor only mode resulting in about 80% coverage of the pool walls and 90% coverage of the pool floor, slightly worse than the previous Seauto Seal.

After that for $529 is the Aiper Scuba S1 which has a single scrubbing brush on the front of the robot and an even more rudimentary accelerometer-based navigation system which basically means that it knows when it’s flat or tilted and whether or not it’s moving but doesn’t have any idea about the shape of the pool or where it’s located. 

However, that didn’t seem to affect the Aiper S1’s cleaning ability and despite Aiper listing the cleaning time of the Scuba S1 at 150 minutes, in full coverage mode it ended up cleaning for 57% longer than that for a total of 3 hours and 56 minutes, focusing on the walls for the first two and a half hours, and then moving into floor only mode for the last hour and a half resulting in about 95% coverage of the pool walls and 95% coverage of the pool floor, putting it in first place overall for coverage.

After that, jumping significantly in both size and price is the $949 Aiper Scuba S1 Pro which has dual scrubbing brushes, a bigger battery, an extra motor for more suction, infrared obstacle avoidance, and an extra mode to do horizontal water line cleaning.

However, in my testing the S1 Pro cleaned for significantly less time than the S1 at 2 hours and 47 minutes, cleaning the walls for the first one hour and 36 minutes where you can see it missed large portions of the pool and spent a lot of time hung up on the stairs before switching to floor only mode for the last 40 minutes, and when all was said and done the S1 Pro had a very disappointing cleaning performance covering about 50% of the pool walls and 80% of the pool floor.

Next, right at $1000 is the Lydsto P1 Max which has almost the exact same design as some of the more popular corded pool cleaners on the market with front and rear scrubbing brushes plus a center brush roller, dual suction inlets, and dual filtration baskets. The P1 Max also has a tethered floating unit which allows it to automatically dock and recharge as well as maintain RF remote connectivity and Wi-Fi for app control even when the robot is underwater.

The P1 Max has three modes: full coverage, wall only, and floor only, but unfortunately the Lydsto’s wall cleaning algorithm can’t handle depth changes and resulted in it cleaning the exact same segment of my wall over and over for 30 minutes until it switched into floor only mode where it did a decent job using a back and forth method resulting in around 10% coverage of the pool walls and 80% coverage of the pool floor, and unfortunately running the Lydsto in floor only mode increases the amount of time that it spends cleaning the floor, but not the total coverage, which was still just around 80%.

After that for $1039 is the Beatbot AquaSense, which is their more affordable model and has gotten less YouTube coverage than the AquaSense Pro, which had sponsored videos from Linus Tech Tips, Unbox Therapy, and a bunch of other high profile tech YouTubers.

The AquaSense has front and rear scrubbing brushes and an ultrasonic distance sensor that it combines with a quad core 1.8 GHz processor to create a map of your pool for the most efficient path planning and cleaning, in theory.

In practice the Beatbot AquaSense seemed to be too smart for its own good and after what looked like a strong first eight minutes of mapping the pool it went into a pretty erratic floor cleaning pattern for the next 45 minutes before switching to wall cleaning mode where it was supposed to cover the walls two full times, but missed the same sections each time resulting in pretty poor coverage of around 40% of the pool wall and 75% of the pool floor, and in some of the YouTube videos I’ve watched the Beatbot creates a map of the pool which can be viewed in the app, and I have been able to see that when I interrupt a cleaning, but after a full clean in my pool I always get the message that it switched to DeepSense mode, which doesn’t show a map and as we’ve seen, doesn’t do a great job with coverage.

I also tested the AquaSense in their new Beta mode which is supposed to increase coverage in pools that have large shelf or step areas, and from what I can tell, this mode just disregards any mapping abilities and randomly cleans the pool similar to the less expensive Seauto Crab and Aiper Scuba S1, but you can see that the results were significantly better, covering around 95% of the pool walls, and 95% of the pool floor, though I’m skeptical that it actually cleaned in all those areas since in this mode it completely abandons its methodical navigation system and instead takes running leaps off of ledges trying to find new walls.

Following up the Beatbot for $1199 is another very smart robotic pool cleaner, the Wybot S2 Pro, which has a single scrubbing brush, infrared mapping and object avoidance, and a powered base station, which not only allows it to automatically recharge when it reaches 20% battery, but the ultrasonic remote on the base also allows you to control the Wybot S2 Pro from Wybot’s phone app even when the robot itself is under water. And speaking of the Phone app, it has more options than I’ve ever seen for a pool cleaner including seven different pool coverage modes and six different wall and floor cleaning patterns to best suit your pool’s shape and topography.

In my testing, the Wybot S2 Pro cleaned for 3 hours and 18 minutes covering around 80% of the pool walls and 90% of the pool floor, staying in a hybrid wall and floor cleaning mode for the entire session. But the thing I was most impressed with was how well it did finding and returning to its dock to recharge after each cleaning session.

And last the most expensive pool vacuum in this video by a significant margin is the $1699 Polaris Freedom Plus. If you didn’t know, Polaris is basically the biggest name in pool cleaners along with their sister brands Zodiac and Jandy they produce a large majority of the pool equipment in the US.

Up until this year, Polaris only produced suction side and tethered pool cleaning robots, but the Freedom and Freedom Plus are battery versions of the corded Polaris EPIC series. The Freedom Plus only has a single scrubbing brush in the front and a much more rudimentary accelerometer based navigation system, but it still has full coverage, floor, wall, and waterline cleaning modes, and in my testing in full coverage mode the Freedom Plus ran for 2 hours and 39 minutes and covered about 65% of the pool walls and 95% of the pool floor.

And that means that overall there was no correlation between more advanced pool mapping systems and pool coverage, and the two highest coverage robots were two of the least expensive, but just covering the wall or floor is only half the battle, so next, we’re going to test pickup ability, and in my experience there are two main types of debris in pools: larger neutrally buoyant debris like leaves and fine sand and silt that settle at the bottom of the pool.

Debris Pickup – Leaves

Starting with the leaves, I used submerged and waterlogged oak and crepe myrtle leaves and ran each pool cleaner in floor only mode. In this test there wasn’t a huge amount of difference between each robot, so I’ve grouped them into three categories. 

Starting with the below average category. The Aiper Scuba S1, Beatbot AquaSense, and Seauto Seal did a good job of collecting any leaves that they directly passed over, but each had an issue that prevented them from collecting as much debris as they should have. The Aiper S1’s rear facing suction stirred up surrounding leaves after it passed, the Seauto Seal’s narrow suction channel meant it had a much smaller cleaning path, and Beatbot AquaSense turns its suction motor on and off when it changes directions which causes it to miss leaves and debris that otherwise could have been picked up.

Next in the average performance category we’ve got the Seauto Crab, Aiper Scuba S1 Pro, Polaris Freedom, and Wybot S2 Pro, and these vacuums were able to pick up any leaves that passed directly under the front of the robot, but they weren’t able to pull in surrounding leaves and still had relatively small cleaning paths.

And the best performer as far as leaf pickup, and the only one in the above average category was the Lydsto P1 Max which looked extremely strange bouncing along the pool floor, but you can’t argue with the results, and the Lydsto did an amazing job not only picking up leaves that passed directly under its extremely wide cleaning path, but also sucking in leaves from the surrounding areas resulting in a completely clean path all around it and cleaning up nearly all the leaves in just two passes.

Debris Pickup – Sand and Silt

Moving on to silt and sand pickup, I used a combination of medium black aquarium substrate and black sand and set each vacuum to floor only mode.

Starting with by far the worst performer in this test. The Beatbot AquaSense basically didn’t pick up any of the sand or substrate and in two separate direct passes it barely made a dent in the pile of debris, and the Seauto Crab wasn’t much better, passing directly over the same area twice and still not leaving a clean path.

The Aiper Suba S1, Polaris Freedom Plus, Seauto Seal, and Wybot S2 were all just average performers, passing over the sand and substrate pile and picking up a decent amount, but definitely not leaving a clean path.

And the top performers by a significant margin were the Aiper Scuba S1 Pro whose dual suction motors gave it a huge advantage picking up the heavier rocks and sand and the Lydsto P1 Max which picked up more sand and silt in just two passes than all the average and below average robots combined.

However, you may have noticed that as the robots passed over the sand most of them blew a black cloud of silt out of their exhaust ports, and that’s because the mesh filter baskets on these battery powered cleaners are not as fine as what you might find on a tethered cleaner.

Filter Size and Type

I used a microscope to compare the filter sizes of each cleaner and found that the Beatbot AquaSense had by far the finest filter basket at 150 microns, the Wybot S2 Pro, Aiper Scuba S1, and S1 Pro, and the Polaris Freedom were all using 180 micron filter baskets, and the Lydsto P1 Max, Seauto Seal and Seauto Crab were all using 250 micron baskets, and for comparison, top of the line tethered cleaners use 100 micron filters, and your pool’s main cartridge filter can filter particles down to around 20 microns.

Finer filter mesh will obviously filter finer particles, but those finer meshes also get clogged much faster which greatly reduces suction power and is probably the reason for the poor performance of the Beatbot AquaSense in both pickup tests. 

The best solution to this problem is to use a two stage filter with a mesh filter bin first, and then a finer secondary filter, and the two robots in this test using that system are the Aiper Scuba S1 Pro which has a pleated secondary filter, and the Wybot S2 Pro which uses an interchangeable foam filter and comes with both fine and course options depending on what type of debris you typically deal with.

However, in practice I found that the Aiper Scuba S1 Pro’s secondary filter was mostly for show and it still blew a significant silt cloud out of its dual exhaust ports, and the secondary filter was almost always completely clean, probably as a result of a bad seal around that filter allowing the water to just go around the filter instead of through it.

The secondary filter on the Wybot S2 Pro on the other hand did a great job collecting finer debris and was filled with sand and silt after each run without any significant reduction in suction power.

Wall and Waterline Cleaning

And the last cleaning type to test is wall and waterline cleaning. To simulate floating pollen, I smeared ground flax seed at and above the waterline and set each vacuum to wall cleaning mode or waterline only cleaning mode if it was available.

In this test the worst performer by far, coming in well below average was the Lydsto P1 Max, which couldn’t pull itself far enough out of the water to actually clean the waterline, and if you remember from the coverage map, the P1 Max also got stuck in the deep end during its wall cleaning mode, so definitely cross this one off your list if waterline cleaning is important for you.

Also coming in below average was the Polaris Freedom Plus which made a very controlled effort to clean the water line, but only reached about half an inch above, and didn’t use enough force to dislodge the debris in the grout lines.

The Wybot S2 Pro and Beatbot also used very controlled and calculated methods to clean the waterline and did an average job, cleaning about an inch above the waterline, while the Aiper Scuba S1 just launched itself as far out of the water as it could and ended up cleaning the waterline just as well.

The Aiper Scuba S1 Pro and Seauto Crab were both above average, with the S1 Pro using its horizontal waterline cleaning method, while the Crab spins its brush forward to shoot water onto the tile, resulting in clean grout lines and decent cleaning up to two inches above the waterline.

But the best waterline cleaning by a significant margin was from the Seauto Seal which easily catapults itself three inches above the waterline and violently spins its front roller forward to splash water onto the tile, resulting in an almost completely clean water line after just one pass.

Cleaning Totals

Adding up all the scores the best cleaner was the Aiper Scuba S1 Pro, but the Lydsto P1 Max dominated specifically in floor cleaning with its two suction channels, front and rear rubber rollers, and central bristle bar.

The Wybot S2 Pro was consistently good without any specific weaknesses, and the Seauto Seal was the king of waterline cleaning.

Robot Weight

So next it’s time to talk about the less obvious things that will impact your satisfaction with your pool cleaner, starting with weight because most of these are supposed to come out of the pool after every clean.

To test this I submerged each cleaner, lifted them to just below the surface using a hook, and then attached them to a scale. I measured the maximum weight required to lift the cleaner out of the pool, the approximate stable weight once the majority of water had drained, and the time it took for the water to drain.

Starting with the cleaners that I think are legitimately too heavy. The Lydsto P1 Max came in at a max of 65.38 pounds and took 9 seconds to drain before stabilizing at around 34 pounds, and the Aiper Scuba S1 Pro had a max weight of 59.02 pounds and took 7 seconds to drain to a wet weight of 29 pounds, which like I said felt way too heavy given the awkward angle that they need to be lifted.

The Beatbot AquaSense, Wybot S2 Pro, Polaris Freedom Plus and Seauto Seal all came in around 40 pounds of initial weight with the big difference being drain time where the Freedom Plus uses its suction motor to drain the robot in just 3 seconds, while the Seauto takes 5 seconds, the Wybot S2 Pro takes 6 seconds, and the Beatbot’s fine filter basket slows down the drainage process to 8 seconds.

And the lightest two robots were the Seauto Crab and the Aiper Scuba S1 at 36.15 pounds and 35.4 pounds and both took around 5 seconds to drain to their wet weight where the Aiper S1 was by far the lightest at just 17 pounds.

Bin Design

The next important thing to consider is how easy it is to clean the debris bin, and the only one that really stood out in this case was the Polaris Freedom which uses an open top sloped design that lets any debris pour out of the bin with just a quick rinse from the hose. The Beatbot also uses an open top design, but I found that the fine mesh needed more than just a simple rinse to clear the filtration, and the Seauto Seal and Crab, Aiper Scuba S1 and S1 Pro, and Wybot S2 Pro all have closed basket style debris bins that were easy enough to clean, but nowhere near as convenient as the Polaris.

Another important aspect of bin design is how well they are able to hold neutrally buoyant particles when removing the robots from the pool, so I put one tablespoon of ground flax seed into each bin and fully submerged the cleaners, then videoed them from underwater while I pulled them out.

And in this test the only cleaner to not have any debris escape was the Polaris Freedom. The Seauto Crab, Aiper Scuba S1, Beatbot AquaSense, Wybot S2 Pro, and Lydsto P1 Max all had a small amount of debris escape, the Aiper Scuba S1 Pro had a moderate amount of flax seed husk leak out, and the Seauto Seal was the worst performer in this test, which is surprising because the Seauto Crab performed well, so it could be because my Seauto Seal is a year old and the rubber flap on the bin could be getting worn out, or it could have to do with this new vent hole in the Crab’s bin that isn’t present on the Seal.

Apps and Smart Features

And as these robots get more high tech the last thing to consider are the app integrations and smart features.

Starting with the Aiper Scuba S1, which has zero app connectivity, but you can put it in eco mode where it will clean the pool floor for 45 minutes every 48 hours for a total of three cleans before needing to recharge.

The Seauto Seal uses the Seauto App, and the Crab uses the Unlock Seauto app, but neither app is particularly useful other than the Crab needing to connect one time to enable mode selection with the onboard button, and you’re free to uninstall it after that.

The Aiper S1 Pro can connect to the Aiper app, but all it does is enable you to select an additional wall only mode, so it’s not particularly useful.

The Lydsto App gives information about whether the robot is cleaning, charging, or in standby, and allows you to set up a simple cleaning schedule, but in my testing, scheduling doesn’t actually work from the app or the remote.

The Beatbot app allows you to create custom modes, and is supposed to send you a notification when the robot is done cleaning, but the notifications never work for me when the robot is waiting at the waterline and I always end up getting the notification after I pull the robot out of the pool, which is also the case for the Polaris Freedom which is supposed to be able to poke itself out of the water enough to connect to Wi-Fi and send a notification, but it hasn’t ever worked for me despite having an access point right by my pool. But the Polaris does come with a useful light-based remote that can be used to drive it around the pool and call it to the surface for retrieval, which I found to be much more convenient than using the pool hook.

And last, the Wybot app for the S2 Pro is the only one that actually works. Not only does it allow you to start a clean and call the robot back to the charging station remotely, but it also allows for scheduling, and the scheduling works perfectly. Because the charging base sits out of the water it’s able to maintain a Wi-Fi connection and it communicates with the S2 Pro underwater using ultrasonic sonar clicks, which I think is pretty cool.

Conclusions and Recommendations

So, all things considered, which cordless robotic vacuum should you buy?

If you add up all the scores the overall winner is the Wybot S2 Pro which was a consistently average cleaner with no weak areas, had good pool coverage and cleaning time, a good bin design with a fine particle secondary filter, and a very innovative inductive charging base that lets it run on a schedule or on demand from the app, and my only complaints about the S2 Pro other than the $1200 price tag are that waves from swimming in the pool can knock it off of the magnetic charging base, and it doesn’t try to go back to the base on its own until you manually press the home button, and the mode button on the robot itself is a capacitive touch button that doesn’t work when the robot is wet, which is basically all the time. 

I’m also really curious about the longevity of the auto recharge system since in my experience leaving a pool cleaner in the water 24/7 causes it to break down much faster than it normally would, so I’m going to keep using the S2 Pro as my vacuum for the next year and I’ll pin a comment with any updates, good or bad.

If you remove the smart functionality sub-score the Aiper Scuba S1 actually had the exact same score as the Wybot with better overall coverage and a longer cleaning time for half the price, and if price is an important factor for you the Seauto Crab is almost as good as the S1 for $170 less, but you’ll need to decide if things like live customer service and warranty support are important to you since Seauto’s phone line just automatically hangs up, while Aiper’s is open from 9am-9pm Monday through Friday and they were very helpful when I called with a made up warranty claim.

Another interesting use of the Aiper Scuba S1 and Seauto Crab is that because they more or less just clean randomly I found that they were both pretty effective at cleaning my hot tub, while smarter path planning robots like the Wybot S2 Pro and Beatbot AquaSense were too confused by the bench layout and got stuck in the corner, and larger robots like the Lydsto P1 Max, Aiper S1 Pro and Polaris Freedom Plus were too big to move around in the tight spaces.

Speaking of the Polaris Freedom Plus, it came in 3rd place, and despite its high price and mostly average performance there’s no question that it’s the most well built in this video from the most reputable brand and has the most convenience features, like the waterproof in-pool remote control, charging dock, dolly, and the perfectly designed, easy-to-clean, open top debris basket, and if you aren’t too concerned with price and you just want a top of the line, bug free, no hassle experience the Polaris Freedom Plus is probably the best choice.

Moving on to the robots I wouldn’t recommend. The Aiper S1 Pro is a pretty good cleaner, but it’s so big and heavy and so much more expensive than the S1 that I don’t think it’s a good option, especially since the S1 had a 41% longer cleaning time despite listings to the contrary on the Aiper website.

The Beatbot AquaSense was the cleaner I was most excited for with its advanced mapping system and path planning, but unfortunately, I think it’s too smart for its own good. Path planning instead of random cleaning results in the same missed areas over and over, and the continual starting and stopping of the suction motor when navigating causes it to miss debris that it otherwise would have been able to clean.

The Lydsto P1 Max is an absolute floor cleaning powerhouse, and I admit being emotionally attached to the floating tether which my family has nicknamed ducky, but if I’m being honest a metal contact based charger floating in a saltwater pool is a terrible idea and in the four weeks since I’ve been testing the Lydsto, the charging contacts have already corroded to the point where ducky thinks he’s losing connection and tries to swim back to the charger when he’s still attached. Combine that with the fact that you are supposed to drill into your patio to connect the base station, and the completely ineffective wall cleaning modes and I think most people should avoid the P1 Max despite its amazing floor cleaning abilities.

And last, if you were lucky enough to pick up the original Seauto Seal SE last year for as little as $295 on prime day, you definitely got away with something because Seauto is now only selling that model through their website for $699, and it’s a better cleaner overall than their new budget model the Crab, but not double the price better.

As always there are no sponsored reviews on this channel, but I do have links below for all of the robotic cleaners in this video, and as always I appreciate when you use those links since as an Amazon affiliate I do earn a small commission on the sale at no cost to you.

I’d also like to thank all my awesome patrons over at Patreon for their continued support my channel, and if you’re interested in supporting my channel, please check out the links below. If you enjoyed this video don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and as always, thanks for watching The Hook Up.

Best Value – Aiper Scuba S1

Best Overall – Wybot S2 Pro

Highest Quality – Polaris Freedom Plus

Lowest Price Good Performer – Seauto Crab

Other robots tested

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